CWU News

First CWU Master of Public Health students hear from Washington Secretary of Health

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman applauded students enrolled in CWU’s new Master of Public Health program and urged them to work in their communities to improve health options.

Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman at CWU


Speaking at an MPH kickoff event on the CWU campus, Wiesman said the students represent the start of a new era.

“The promise and hope of a generation who will use data, science, community-based practice, and lived experience to work in and with communities to help people achieve their full health potential,” Wiesman said. “The work is critically important. It will be exciting and scary, fulfilling and frustrating, and challenging and rewarding, all at the same time.”

At the start of fall quarter, CWU began offering the MPH degree. It is the only school in central Washington offering the master’s degree. Once in the workforce, Wiesman said program graduates will be called on to advance a new public health focus, beyond what he termed the issue-specific approach.

“We need to acknowledge that it is the same communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted or disadvantaged no matter what it is you look at,” he added. “The same communities experience poor outcomes across health, education, employment and more. This is a call to action for those of us in public health to look further upstream, to look at the root causes of inequity and start our work there.”

Students from CWU’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health program and other health partners from throughout the region were also in attendance for the presentation and a question-and-answer session with Wiesman.

Tishra Beeson, CWU’s Public Health program director, echoed Wiseman’s comments when asked about the new degree.

“It’s not just about treating individual symptoms and treating disease but looking at a more holistic view of all the factors that impact health and quality of life.” Beeson said. “We prepare our graduates—in any setting they are in—to help improve the health of populations.” 

Rapid employment growth is being projected across all health professions, driven by numerous factors, including an aging population, which is leading to greater demand for healthcare services.

“Students who gain knowledge and develop skills in population health—which can be challenging to address—are in high demand because that’s the way the entire health industry is moving,” Beeson noted.

CWU has begun work on an 80,748 square-foot Health Sciences building. When opened in January 2022, it will be the new home for public health, along with the university’s exercise science, clinical physiology, nutrition, and paramedicine programs. It is being developed to help address the central Washington region being designated as a medically underserved population by the Washington State Department of Health. 

Wiesman and CWU President James L. Gaudino prior to Wiesman's address


Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

Photos: (top) Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman at CWU, (bottom) Wiesman and CWU President James L. Gaudino prior to Wiesman's address